by James Martin

Such a treat on Christmas Eve or for any deluxe special occasion. The chips are gilding the lily, but why not?

Main course

Buyer's guide

Lobsters are always considered a luxury food, and it’s unlikely that you’ll eat them often. However the Marine Conservation Society advises avoiding American lobsters from Southern New England as they are a vulnerable source.

Lobsters are available both live, cooked and frozen if you know where to buy them (cooked are often the easiest to manage and the flesh can be removed from the shell with only a limited amount of expertise). Lobsters can grow to be 4.5kg/10lb, but are best eaten at about 500g-1.4kg/1lb-3lb. In general, the smaller the lobster, the more tender it will be. Coldwater lobsters from more northern seas are considered to be the finest quality.


To kill a live lobster, either place it in the freezer for a few minutes to dull its senses then steam, or pierce it just behind the head with a sharp, heavy knife or skewer. Lobsters are almost entirely edible apart from the transparent bag-like stomach and the dark intestines, which should be removed with a sharp knife point. Keep the creamy green-grey liver (the 'tomalley'), which has an excellent flavour. The shell is too hard to eat but can be reserved and used to make fish stock, or as the base for a soup, bisque or lobster sauce.